Oklahoma City residents want answers after off-duty police officer fires gun in neighborhood

BY BRYAN DEAN bdean@opubco.com Published: October 8, 2012
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Police didn't arrive at the officer's home until after 4 p.m., neighbors said. Citty said someone at the elementary school called at 2:45 p.m. and reported hearing shots about 1:45 p.m. and a few minutes before the call. The school official said someone was outside a house with a gun.

Officers were sent to check the area and found nothing, prompting the school to cancel the lockdown. Police weren't notified about the officer's mental health crisis until 3:45 p.m. and didn't immediately make a connection between the officer's issues and the earlier call from the school, Citty said.

“They responded as quickly as they got the information,” Citty said.

Robot damaged

Records obtained by The Oklahoman indicate a robot sent into the house by police was damaged when it was kicked by the officer.

At the time of the incident, Nelson said it isn't necessarily a crime if someone shoots a gun inside a house unless other people are endangered. It is a crime to discharge a firearm within city limits, according to a city ordinance.

Regarding the redacted report, city attorneys cited three laws allowing them to block the information. All three of the laws cite cover medical records, but not law enforcement records.

Joey Senat, an open government expert and journalism professor at Oklahoma State University, said the city is breaking the law by not releasing the full report as required under the state's Open Records Act.

“The lack of detail is disturbing,” Senat said. “They don't want anybody to know which one of their officers did something. I think we should expect if someone is firing off a gun in a neighborhood to know what happened. The public is entitled to that.”

Sheryl and Elvis Humphrey live a couple of blocks away and have children who attend Santa Fe Elementary. They said the suggestion by police that no one was endangered by the officer's behavior is insulting to those with children at the elementary school.

“The police are acting like it's no big deal,” Sheryl Humphrey said. “He was endangering a whole school full of elementary kids. It just makes it look like they are covering this up. If this was us, our address would have been put out there. Our names would have been released.”


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